By Mike Steely

It’s only local government, right? Your vote won’t make a difference so why bother, right?


November 7’s city council election might be close in several of the five races. As a city resident you can vote for all five of the contests. District residents decided the top two candidates in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 6th Districts and now every city resident who chooses to vote will pick the five winners.

The new candidates will form what could be a majority on the council since only four seated councilmembers remain on that body.

How could your vote matter?

The City Primary had one race, that for the 6th District Seat, ending in a tie for second place. The matter went to the city council which chose Harry Tindell over Amelia Parker to face front-runner Lauren Rider. Amelia immediately announced, and qualified, to run as a write-in candidate.

One vote would have made a difference in that primary race.

There are lots of examples of how one vote matters.

In 1726 one vote chose English over German to be language used in America. In 1845 Texas was approved to join the United States by one vote. Adolph Hitler was chosen to lead the German Nazi Party by one vote.

In 1939 the Massachusetts governor’s race was decided by one vote. In 1941 the Selective Service System was saved by one vote just weeks before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

Tennessean President Andrew Johnson was impeached but stayed in office because of one vote. President Rutherford B. Hayes gained that office by one vote in the Electoral College. Charles B. Smith was elected to Congress in New York State by one vote.

Currently many of the Republican bills being passed in congress fail or pass because of one vote, often that of Vice President Mike Pence.

And the one vote in the Tennessee House by a little known young man of 24 years saw the ratification nationwide of the vote for women. Rep. Harry Burn had sided with the “No” crowd until he received a letter from his mother and he changed his vote. One vote from one person changed American History as our Volunteer State became the ratification state.

So, if you haven’t voted early please vote. If you have then find other family members, relatives or neighbors who have not voted and remind them to do so. If you don’t vote then don’t complain about the results.